Thailand Bulletin For Friday, July 20
Roundup of Thailand news with AJW
BANGKOK BRIEF: The Department of Special Investigation will take legal action against the manufacturers and distributors of allegedly defective bomb detectors GT200. The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) will closely monitor implementation of the government's multi-billion-baht flood prevention projects. Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has threatened to sue the defense minister for reviving allegations of draft-dodging against him. The Public Health Ministry insists there is no report of hand, foot, mouth disease (HFMD) spreading among adults but is warning the public about the possibility of infection.
WORLD SUMMARY: Microsoft posted its first ever loss $492 million. U-Boat sunk silver cargo UK find. Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor has appealed his conviction and 50-year jail sentence for war crimes. "Mad Men" dominated nominations for the primetime Emmy awards.
PM IN EUROPE: PM Yingluck, who is on an official visit to Germany as a guest of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, told the "Thailand team," comprising embassy, trade, and tourism officials in Berlin that her government is preparing to set up the "data warehouse," in which the Finance Ministry, the Bank of Thailand or BOT, and the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) will be the key offices in collecting updated information on the Thai economy and investment for international investors.
The PM is also scheduled to pay a three-day official visit to France, at the invitation of newly-elected French President Francois Hollande, immediately following her visit to Germany.
BIG BROTHER: Fugitive former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra said in an appearance in Jakarta that his sister Yingluck Shinawatra was doing a better job as prime minister than he did.
TODAY: Weather 33C; Hot Sunny; scattered showers; Euro:US 1.2279; Euro:Baht 38.86;
SET: Index 1213
BEER WAR: Heineken NV, the world’s third-biggest brewer, offered US$5.1 billion (US$4.1 billion) to buy the rest of Asia Pacific Breweries it doesn’t own from Fraser & Neave Ltd. to extend control of the Tiger beer brand amid a push to counter ThaiBev plans to increase its stake yesterday to 20 percent.
PHUKET: The hotel business in Phuket is booming as tourists flood the island, but sales of resort properties have failed to benefit, according to CBRE Research's “Phuket Property Report.” “Despite healthy increases in tourism arrivals, CB Richard Ellis is not, for now, seeing a proportional increase in sales in the resort property market. The rising tourism numbers are mainly from Asia, whose tourists have yet to become resort-property buyers," David Simister, chairman of CBRE Thailand, said.
LOWEST $: The TAT identified that among Asian tourists, the lowest daily spend was by Laotians (US$101.99) and among Europeans, the lowest daily spend was by Germans (US$115.46).
HIGHEST $: TGIF because here's the answer to your next question. According to the TAT, the highest daily spend by Asian tourists is India (US$161.78) and the top country for tourist's daily spend is UAE (US$175.21)
AEC 2015: The three main private Thai tourism organizations, the Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA), the Association of Domestic Travel (ADT), and the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), yesterday said the main weakness of Thailand's tourism industry is a shortage of officials with sufficient knowledge and a devotion to the field.
To benefit from the AEC, Thailand must increase spending on research and development, create more intellectual property, and come up with new exotic travel destinations that can be linked to other Asean countries.
They say this will prepare the tourism industry for Asean economic integration in 2015.
The government has drawn up several plans to prepare for the AEC, but their execution remains weak, said Dr. Surin Pitsuwan of ASEAN.
However, he urged small- and medium-sized tourism enterprises to take proactive action in order to thrive under the AEC.
Former tourism and sports minister Weerasak Kowsurat said the private sector should study which products and services are in demand in Asean.
Businesses should think about expanding into other Asean countries to benefit from their cheaper raw materials and beneficial laws and regulations.
SINGLE VISA: The CLMV scheme is an initiative of four former and current communist countries - Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Its single visa will be launched officially next month in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City, and the next step is to allow foreign tourists to travel in their bloc.
The Thai private sector called on the Thai government to address this issue, as it has been clearly slow to respond. If it does not act right away, Thailand will lose its prominence in the travel industry in the region.
THAI REHAB: Troubled British rocker Pete Doherty was asked to cut short his one-month stay at high-end drug rehabilitation center, The Cabin near Chiang Mai, because he would not forswear his desire for drugs, an official said. Doherty has visited Thailand before, taking a beach holiday in Phuket during the 2006-2007 New Year's holiday with his then-girlfriend, model Kate Moss.
GREENHOUSE GASES: Per capita carbon emissions in China increased by 9 percent in 2011 to reach 7.2 tons per person, only a fraction lower than the EU average of 7.5 tons. The figure for the US is still much higher at 17.3 tons.
WIKIPEDIA & TRAVEL: The folks behind the world’s fifth most popular web property, Wikipedia, are said to be pondering the creation of a Wikipedia-inspired travel guide, likely to compete with TripAdvisor and guidebook publishers across the globe.
The as-yet unnamed travel guide is likely to be free of advertisements - as opposed to supposed travel wiki leader, Wikitravel, whose ads and lack of development is said to have deterred contributors and travelers alike.
Given that Wikipedia is often found amongst the top offerings in search engine results, many are questioning the impact the travel guide will have on the current market.
According to observers, guidebook publishers are monitoring developments, but feel the best guidebooks aren’t going anywhere.
Fellow user-generated site TripAdvisor is often attacked for questionable posts submitted by subjective parties.
Wikipedia’s goal is at once simple and complicated: “Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment.” How this will play in the world of travel is yet to be seen.
PAUL BOCUSE: Last month, the food Twitterverse exploded with rumors and a purported obituary that legendary chef Paul Bocuse passed away. Except he totally didn’t. Seriously. It’s a hoax! (Nor did Joel Robuchon and Alain Passard hold a lookalike contest to find his replacement.)
After noticing that none of the major newspapers in France carried the story, which they would, since Bocuse is the Steve Jobs of French cuisine, food writer Elizabeth Auerbach, who was in France at the time, confirmed with his eponymous restaurant that Paul was not dead. “They’re very unhappy with the rumors on Twitter about his death,” she reported. Paul Bocuse is 86 this year.
OLYMPICS: Up to 5,500 British immigration officials will strike next Thursday in a dispute about job cuts and pay, disrupting nearly 130,000 passengers as they arrive the day before the Olympic opening ceremony.
CAMBODIA VIRUS: Cambodia is closing all kindergarten and primary schools two weeks before a regular vacation to try to stop the spread of a virus that has killed almost 60 Cambodian children. For most children, the virus causes nothing more than a few days' discomfort. Good hygiene prevents the virus from spreading, health experts say.
NOVOTEL FENIX PLOENCHIT: Ideally located at Sukhumvit road, the hotel is only steps away from Bangkok's shopping paradise of Siam Paragon, Central World, MBK, Terminal 21 and Central Chidlom, all connected by BTS sky train right in front of the hotel. This contemporary 4-star hotel features 370 well-equipped guestrooms, premier floors and lounge, fitness and outdoor pool, meeting rooms, and indoor parking. Novotel Bangkok Fenix Ploenchit is a perfect choice for both business and leisure travelers in a great location.
HOTEL LIFTS FOR THE DISABLED: The continuing controversy over hotel pool wheelchair lifts today will escalate into a targeted boycott of hotels across the USA.
A national coalition of disability rights groups today will officially kick off a campaign against hotels.
They will call for supporters to boycott all hotels in the USA that lack a fixed wheelchair lift - the kind of lift that would allow wheelchair users to easily get into a hotel pool without assistance.
There are about 3.3 million people in the USA who use wheelchairs.